Horza

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About Horza

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    riots are tiny though / systems are huge

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    'Straya, love it or leave it!

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  1. Doesn't explain why he didn't bring it up in his comments for her eulogy. Here's what his colleague had to say about that:
  2. Fun thing about the Korean peninsula crisis is all three countries have first strike as their preferred option. NK has outright said (in its unique style) that its missiles and nukes are for destroying a potential invasion force in harbours and on the tarmac. Their last successful launch was a rocket drill, where they released a map with lines connecting the missile landing spots in the Sea of Japan to airbases and ports they could have hit. Responding to these developments, US contingency plans have also shifted to decapitation and pre-emptive strikes, and South Korea, which has its own missile program, has said that decapitation is on the menu if they get the faintest suspicion that Kim's sausage fingers are making for the big red button. This is the definition of an unstable situation. If this crisis accelerates in the days and weeks ahead - and it will: NK has a new bomb and possibly an ICBM in the works, and April 15 is Kim Il-Sung's birthday - all the actors will find themselves under increasing pressure to head off the possibility of being last to the button. The problem is one man's reasonable precautions to be ready in all contingencies are another man's preparation for a first strike.
  3. First bit of retaliation: What pisses Russia off about the strike isn't so much the damage to their guy's warplanes but the fact that this was a decision taken basically on a whim, in which they didn't ultimately matter. It's the project of the Putin cohort to return Russia to equal standing on the world stage, and this airstrike was a very clear indication that as far as Trump is concerned, they aren't equals. Ending the deconfliction line is a step toward trying to get the US to acknowledge that its Syrian campaigns exist on Russian sufferance, and there's going more risky steps ahead if President Fox and Friends doesn't get the picture.
  4. I don't think this reinforces this red line anywhere near as much as people are suggesting. For starters, this strike was basically theatre. Notice was given to avoid the possibility really triggering an escalation. This sort of action is meant to function as "next time there will be no warning" signalling, but it not only depends on the audience deeming the threat to be credible, it also requires them to place avoiding further strikes above other interests. For the Syrian government, making life hell for anyone inside opposition areas is essential to their strategy, something they've proven willing to pursue despite the risk of incurring US intervention. This latest gas attack is far from the first (though maybe each time it was the rebels assembling large quantities of potent nerve agent for use on themselves, who knows?) and I think there's reason to suspect it won't be the last, because a serious sustained attack is simply too big a leap into the unknown when there is demonstrably so little real US interest in the conflict, much less serious US interests at stake.
  5. Nicely done, RBPL. All known thread science informs us that a thread containing Stalin=Socialist? and Hitler=Christian? will attain critical mass and collapse into a superdense black hole of infinite disputation within 1.704 posts. In the interests of science though I must wonder what transformations this reaction would undergo if I raised the possibility that World War Two might have been prevented in its entireity if Germany had compulsory voting...
  6. They're trapped. They promised their base they would repeal Obamacare, but then the base realised that Obamacare was the same thing as the Affordable Care Act, which they either like or at least prefer to pure freedom. Now, they could backtrack and it would probably be no huge deal, because like the wall, this was sort of a totemic thing more than a serious commitment. But that will break the grand bargain Trump has with Ryan and McConnell, who are beholden to the other wing of the Republican coalition, the one that's packed with the 'healthcare is a business, not a right' types and their deep-pocketed pals, who will raise hell if they don't use their control of two and a half branches of government to rip up Obamacare. Both wings are now tying themselves in knots because the unfettered power they've been given by the collapse of the Democratic Party is forcing them to try and realise their deeply unpopular ideologies.
  7. I think the way he sees it either way he'd be handing over the family firm to the neighbouring conglomerate, and he'd ultimately rather take his chances than have his prerogatives gradually and certainly eroded. North Korea is weak, dependent and vulnerable, but in some ways those are strengths for the Kim dynasty. Near-starvation keeps people too busy for politics and vulnerability means others take on the burden of propping up the regime because they fear the results of its collapse. It's a monstrous way to play a weak hand but it's worked for far longer than most predictions said it would.
  8. This is a common assumption, but it hasn't been true for about forty years. The first US and Soviet bombs were huge things because they were doing it from scratch and testing multiple design hypotheses in the dark. The theory and practice of building a fission device has got a lot more efficient since then, ending the need to begin your program by rebuilding Little Boy and Fat Man. The Pakistani nuclear program - which the NK program drew on, courtesy of AQ Khan - first tested with compact gas-boosted fission devices and it's quite possible that the low yield of the first few NK tests was due to misfiring attempts to replicate this approach. If so, they appear to have gotten over the technical hurdles, and last year Kim posed with a spherical mock-up about the size of a finalised, nose cone-fitting compact fission device, and with mock up KN-11 IRBMs. What could it all mean? That doesn't mean they actually have one that fits in a nose cone, but it's a strong indication that they are aiming for it, and they don't have to recapitulate the entire warhead family tree to get there. --- Re: first strikes, invasions and all that, I can't see any of that going well long term unless China signs off on it, and they won't because they don't want a US-aligned state on their border and/or Korean reunification. As such, some kind of Chinese intervention in the event of a crisis seems really likely to me, not that that wouldn't be fraught as hell either. That might even be why Kim had his older brother bumped off last night...
  9. Yeah, I want to congratulate the North Dakota legislature on narrowly not voting for the legalisation of official vehicular manslaughter, you guys really dug deep.
  10. What an astonishing three weeks.
  11. There are still a few areas where a deal could be done, such as nuclear test bans or rocket testing/development restrictions that could slow or limit the scale of their nuclear ambitions, but when it comes to a nuclear armed NK with IRBMs the ship has very much sailed.
  12. Weird, because right after Munich both French and British rearmament spending accelerated even faster, with a huge emphasis on Britain's part on fighter aircraft and radar. It's almost like they were anticipating some kind of... war, with a power much closer to them than the USSR... There's also that weird episode you keep somehow overlooking where they extended their full diplomatic support to Poland in April 1939. Munich took place over September-October 1938 while the Pact was signed in August 1939. I guess Stalin was a slow reader and he only fully processed it while hosting the Drax mission?
  13. While I don't think it's neccessarily connected to this particular case, support for the Front Nationale has been growing among the French police and armed services.
  14. Late to the party, but I feel like this is a big problem with a lot of pre-WW2 counterfactuals, in that it's really hard to think of a politically feasible pathway to a second Triple Entente. Not only would a renewed anti-German alliance require far more trust between all three powers than existed in the late 30s, but there's also the small issue of maintaning Polish sovereignty while obliging a massive Soviet offensive against Germany.
  15. You're saying quite a bit about what liberal democracy is here, and I actually agree with much of the characterisation, if not the values thereby expressed.